May Release Recommendations
By Natalie MacLean
Highly Recommended White Wines
555730 Tasman Bay Chardonnay Spencer Hill, 2000 New Zealand $15.95: If there's a theme in these two releases its big, oaky, buttery chardonnays. Don't recommend those that I think are too much of any of these elements, but if you like this style, there are a variety to choose from in May.
746198 Nosiola Vallis Agri 2000, Italy $12.60: very pleasant, easy-drinking summer white, good fruit, a touch of oak, good all-round
728667 Muskat Ottonel 2000, Weinkellerei Moorhof 2000, Austria $11.85: lovely orange blossoms and floral aromas with a vibrant acidity that would it pair perfectly with seafood and cream-sauce dishes (you'll find this in the Austrian section of the Vintages booklet on page 26)
Highly Recommended Red Wines
530477 Lakeview Cellars Baco Noir Reserve 1999, Niagara $19.95: Finally, a baco noir to make Henry of Pelham sit up and take notice. Deep purply, generous plum fruit, spice.
422808 Vineland Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2000, Niagara $14.95: Classic, elegant cab, excellent value for the money.
706994 Robert Mondavi Pinot Noir Carneros 1998, California $54.95: a beautiful, grossly over-priced wine: dancing cherries, balanced, easy-drinking, touch of barnyard (this is a good thing, trust me), food-friendly red.
590489 Riddoch Cabernet/Shiraz Katnook Estate 1999, Australia $17.75: takes the best characteristics of both grapes for a smooth, rich, dark fruit blend.
726992 Hills View "Blewitt Springs" Shiraz 1999, Australia $15.95: happy are they who find a gorgeous Shiraz for a great price! That wonderful hint of mint chocolate and deep fruit -- my favourite Shiraz of the release.
457986 Leasingham Classic Clare Shiraz 1998, Australia $59.95: fantastic and the first of some over-priced Aussie wines I've seen.
983106 Vina Carmen Syrah/Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 1999, Chile $19.65: nice blend of grapes -- very complementary, generous fruit, touch bitter on the finish but this doesn't wreck it.
721720 Vin de Pays de Franche-Comte Pinot Noir Vign Guillaume 1999, Burgundy $14.45: lovely, Old World pinot with bright cherries (who'd want dull ones?) and not much barnyard.
958843 Cave de Tain l'Hermitage "les Hauts du Fief" Crozes-Hermitage 1998, Rhone $19.90: Old World cedary Rhone style wine, medium body, elegant.
719286 Domaine de 'Ameillaud, La SCEA l'Ameillaud Vin de Pays Vaucluse 2000, Rhone $8.95: wins the award for best fool-them-into-thinking-it's-more-expensive-than-it-is wine: wonderful value, not complex (what is for $8.95), but easy drinking.
955779 Nero d'Avola, Duca di Castelmonte 1999, Sicily $12.80: good value, makes your mouth water with a touch of acidity (therefore it;'s a good food wine), bright red fruit.
461897 Dogajolo, Carpineto 2000, Tuscany $17.55: full-bodied and interesting enough to get you out of your shiraz rut.
725895 Ontanon Reserva, Bodegas Ontanon 1995, Rioja $27.85: savoury, cedary and spicy -- worth the money.
May 18: Highly Recommended White Wines
545004 Mission Hill Chardonnay Reserve 1999, Oakanagan $17.95: a wonderful oaky, buttery chard that beats most of the others on price -- my favourite chard of this release.
311415 Round Hill Chardonnay 2000, California $14.60: as above -- lovely and, um, round -- must be that subliminal advertising in the name.
479527 Clos du Bois Chardonnay 2000, Alexander Valley Reserve, Sonoma $27.90: as above, wonderful big fruit, oak and butter.
960492 Brokenwood Chardonnay 2000, Australia $18.70: repeat it with me: see above. And like the others, even though they're big chards, they're not too hot for summer. (But who's kidding who? These little beauties won't last until the summer anyway.)
560144 Babich Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2001, New Zealand $15.55: typical herbal, gooseberry nose without the acidity being too aggressive.
983205 Santa Ines Vineyards Chardonnay Reserva 1999, Chile $14.95: If you like a round chard but would like to dial back on the oak, try this one -- just a touch of it here.
484139 Domaine de Tariquet Sauvignon Blanc 2000, France $12.55: wonderful NZ-like SB, great value.
733295 RK Riesling 2000, Germany $12.55: my kind of riesling -- floral, touch of sweetness, nice acidity, beautiful food wine.
976514 Marques de Riscal Sauvignon Blanc 2001, Spain $9.95: another NZ SB hiding out in the old country -- amazing price!
May 18: Highly Recommended RedWines
330084 Round Hill Merlot 1999, California $15.75: a profoundly good merlot, round, full, wow -- hey who is this vineyard anyway, they put in a good white too?!
594325 EXP Syrah RH Philips 1999, California $19.95: I've liked this wine for many years, perhaps a bit more in past years, but they never seem to have a bad year -- dense, rich and a bit tart -- good with food.
744235 Wakefield Cabernet Sauvignon 1999, Australia $14.90: big and hot and wonderful, great price.
721548 Evans & Tate Cabernet/Merlot 2000, Australia $17.55: delicious and balanced.
960435 Brokenwood Shiraz 1999, Australia $19.90: another red and white performer in this release -- big and huge (yes, both! I'm running out of adjectives, just buy it OK)
950782 Stellenzicht Shiraz 1999, South Africa $20.85: wonderful but not like the Aussie shirazes, cherry and supple.
982488 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 1999, Italy $14.45: spice, violets (yep) and dark fruit.
989657 Delas Freres Giogondas 1999, Rhone $29.90: Old World wonderful, herby, rustic, and spicy.
If you're still with me at this point, hand me a drink, would ya -- and get one for yourself.